February 01, 2019

2018: A Year of Success and Challenges

Judge Louraine Arkfeld

Judge Louraine Arkfeld

2018: A Year of Success and Challenges
By Hon. Louraine C. Arkfeld

In the second half of 2018, I had the honor and pleasure of assuming the role of chair of the Commission on Law and Aging, taking the reins from my able and respected predecessor, Hon. Patricia Banks. I’ve stepped into this role at a time of great changes within the ABA that pose considerable challenges as well as opportunities for the Commission.

As the result of major financial and structural changes within the ABA, the Commission is now part of the ABA Center for Public Interest Law, which for the first time, combines almost all the domestic, grant-funded, public interest programs of the ABA under one administrative umbrella. This will provide opportunities for greater teamwork, synergy, and visibility for all the partners in the Center. At the same time, the ABA has significantly reduced core financial support for the Commission and many other programs, so the goal of long-range financial stability has risen as a major challenge and priority.

However, the accomplishments of the Commission during the past year and its current line-up of projects clearly demonstrate that, in our rapidly aging society, the impact of the Commission on Law and Aging in the realms of practice and policy is more important than ever.

Now in its 39th year, the Commission on Law and Aging has continued its mission to serve as a collaborative, interdisciplinary leader of the ABA’s efforts to strengthen and secure the legal rights, dignity, autonomy, quality of life, and quality of care of aging persons. It is this unique, holistic focus that produces the Commission’s singular impact.

This issue of BIFOCAL provides a snapshot of the Commission’s accomplishments over the past year. During this time, legal practitioners, advocates in aging, justice institutions, public policy-makers, and the public have benefited through the work of the Commission and its professional staff in the areas of research, policy and practice development, professional education, technical assistance, and advocacy.

I hope you will enjoy reading the Year-in-Review compilation, follow and like us on social media and subscribe to our free e-journal BIFOCAL. Please consider ways you can support the important work of the Commission. Please visit our new, improved web site at https://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_aging/Donate/, to learn more about the work of the Commission, how it benefits you, and how you can support our work.

Wishing you a year full of joy, health, dignity and justice for all.